In the latest interview on The Peoples Person, Stuart McGuire had a chat with The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson.
Jamie is the Manchester football correspondent for the Guardian and Observer and we asked for his view on Manchester United’s season so far, how well Louis van Gaal has done and also to get his thoughts on what United are going to be doing in the summer transfer window.
Jamie, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Could you introduce yourself please
I’m 43, have been a sports journalist since 2002 and when I began at the Observer I covered most sports until becoming the Manchester football correspondent of The Guardian and Observer. I have two gorgeous young children and a lovely wife.
A short time ago it was considered inconceivable that Utd wouldn’t make the Top 4. Now with Spurs and Liverpool’s resurgence and Southampton and Arsenal doing well, there is a real danger we may not finish in the Top 4. What’s your prediction for the places?
My top four is Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Regardless of the finish to the season, it seems highly likely that United will spend heavily in the summer whilst selling those that van Gaal doesn’t particularly rate.
Who do you think we will sign, who will leave and more importantly what do we need?
Who might United sign? A central defender and Mats Hummels heads the list, a right-back where Seamus Coleman, Nathaniel Clyne and Dani Alves are in the mix and possibly a striker.
Who might leave? Radamel Falcao, Rafael Da Silva and Chris Smalling.
What do United need? A right-back, a centre-back, a leader-of-the-pack midfielder – think Yaya Toure – and a 20-goal a-season striker.
Jorge Mendes recently said that only Jose Mourinho could have replaced Sir Alex Ferguson. Was there any prospect of Mourinho coming to Utd?
Yes, I think there was a prospect but for whatever reason United decided against it. I’m not sure Ferguson put in a good word for Mourinho,
if you understand me. For me, if Guardiola is unavailable, it should have been Mourinho without a doubt.
Given the money spent last summer and the impressive background and CV of van Gaal, do you think he is doing a good job?
I would give him six out of ten. United finished seventh last season and they are currently fourth while playing average stuff but I think United fans have to get used to the style of football. Ahead of van Gaal’s arrival, one particularly prominent Premier League manager was warning that his teams are always very “functional” rather than dazzling.
Pep Guardiola famously admonished you during a press conference. Do the other journalists continually remind you of this? What’s your relationship with him like since then?
No, they don’t constantly remind me but it is mentioned, maybe, if United or City are about to play Bayern Munich. In press conferences both before and after the return leg for United against Munich last season, Guardiola was very friendly, as was I.
Are there any other managers that you have had a run in with? Did you manage to survive Carrington without being banned by Fergie?
No ban from Sir Alex but Roberto Mancini had a pop at me (there is footage somewhere). Arsene Wenger also accused me of being a Sheffield United fan once in a post-match presser at Bramall Lane. Sven-Goran Eriksson was “shaking” with disquiet, according to an FA mandarin, following a B international versus Albania at Reading’s stadium in a pre-World Cup 2006 match when I dared to suggest that Beckham received preferential status when being selected for the 2002 WC. Eriksson asked what alternative he had but to choose Beckham (who had been injured), to which I answered something like: “You’re the England manager, you earn millions of pounds, surely that is up to you to know.” Neil Warnock and Roy Hodgson have also not been too impressed with questions I’ve asked.
Your Twitter bio makes reference to “1000 poems and counting”. Is this a hobby, just a joke or are you the next Wilfred Owen?
I love poetry – a good poem is like a rock and roll or house music or disco tune: writing or reading one. The dream is to publish collections, as well as serious literature.
Finally, we have to ask given the number of times it is mentioned in the Media. De Gea. Is he staying or leaving?
It’s in the balance. If David de Gea wants to leave and Real Madrid get serious, it could be “Adios David” this summer.